On Saturday, August 3, a 21-year-old Texas man whose name I refuse to acknowledge shot and killed at least 22 people inside a Walmart store in El Paso's Cielo Vista Mall. More than two dozen people were transported to both the University Medical Center of El Paso and Del Sol Medical Center. The scumbag posted a four-page manifesto to the online message board 8chan where racist and anti-Semitic ideas are circulated. According to multiple reports, the document was filled with white nationalist speech aimed at immigrants and Hispanics. It's believed those people were targeted by the gunman using an assault-style rifle.
U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas John Bash stated that federal hate crime charges and capital murder charges are being considered, as well as potentially the death penalty for the shooting suspect, who surrendered himself to law enforcement.
This was the second of two mass shootings over the weekend, including the 10 people killed and 26 more injured outside a bar in Dayton, Ohio. President Donald Trump offered prayers for "those who perished in Toledo."
Jerry Jones on El Paso Shooting
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spoke with USA Today's Jori Epstein on Sunday morning, offering condolences for the shooting victims' family members and loved ones in north Texas, as well as expressing a sentiment he believes many Americans are in agreement with.
"We are so appreciate of the support that we have in El Paso. And it's just unthinkable and a tragedy that they're having to live right there with that. But we are all in heart and spirit, we share that. We all do. And it's just so sad for those families. All those innocent people and obviously we all want to think how can we make different those issues. I'm sure all Americans are thinking that way."
-- Jerry Jones, via Jori Epstein (USA Today)
Gun violence is nothing new to Dallas Cowboys players. This isn't the first (and sadly, potentially the last) mass shooting in Texas, including the September 2017 shooting in Plano where eight innocent people were killed during a home invasion while watching a Dallas Cowboys game.
Earlier this year, All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott offered to pay funeral costs for 14-year-old football phenom Jaylon McKenzie, who was shot and killed outside St. Louis, Missouri.
Once again, the Lone Star State is grieving, and one of its largest organizations is responding to the tragic events with thoughts and prayers. Current and former Dallas Cowboys from DeMarcus Lawrence to Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith took to social media after the El Paso shooting.
One of the most vocal, however, was Houston native George Iloka. The 29-year-old safety took on concerns from people on Twitter, as well as offer suggestions he believes need to be in place if change can begin to happen.
It remains to be seen if anything will change, but the numbness to gun violence in the United States continues to be downplayed. No matter what facts and figures you want to throw out there, one death to gun violence and domestic terrorism from a racist, mentally unstable, or just plain unhappy human being is too many.
UPDATE: The Dallas Cowboys announced that the team, as well as the Gene and Jerry Jones Family Foundation, are donating $50,000 to the El Paso Community Foundation Victims' Fund. Also, the team announced that the NFL Foundation, which is chaired by Cowboys Executive Charlotte Jones Anderson, is also committing $50,000 to the fund.
This article was originally published on August 5, 2019.